The current Malaysia graduate job market is one of the most competitive we've ever known.
Time and time again employers tell us that a degree alone is not indicative of a well-rounded graduate, but the truth is, if you don’t meet the grades (plus good in English) then you better join the ‘grape’s pickers group (penganggur)’.
Next is to blame the ‘experts’ in the institute of higher educations, as they are the one who knows all , with the highest level papers of the academics to provide further development opportunities to complement the academic curriculum. Is this fair?
Many had written on ‘give them the right tools, as students will thrive in taking charge of their own development’, and again what are the tools provided?
It’s not the same as ‘give the child a fishing rod and not the fish …”.
And again, to help them do this, we need to reassess our role as higher education providers.
We should not just provide the opportunities for students to achieve good academic results but actively promote the benefits of a wider curriculum to students.
We also should not give them ‘A’s’ freely just because to please the ‘administrators’ at helm.
After all, institute of higher education should be seen as a transformative experience through which students can prepare themselves to succeed in the many and varied roles they will undertake in future life.
Higher institute of education should evaluate its offering to recognize the importance and value of both academic curriculum and co-curricular activities in developing the range of skills and attributes that are important for graduates.
Armed with a better sense of the student journey, my guess is that the higher institute of education experts had their own layout program journey to support students' transition through higher education and enable them to take responsibility for their own development.
The journey should give students the opportunity to benefit from the highest quality research-informed academic experience. The skills and attributes to develop that will help to make you highly employable and able to make informed career choices about your future.
The journey should fulfill student’s academic potential and ability to contribute effectively to the wider community.
Students should get the chance to engage in volunteering, sports and other activities so that you can develop as a person, try new things and give something back.
Students should be clear about who they are and what they want to be, and be equipped to achieve their goals. But in real terms how have we changed?
Though voices from ‘Revamp the Malaysian Education System’ many had voiced out opinions.
Educators talked about the curriculum that enables students to develop their subject knowledge, academic literacy and a range of complementary capabilities. But there is no real ‘autonomy’ given to the providers.
There’s also opinion on making education program as flexible as possible, such arts students can study modules in forensic science and math, while science students can study media, politics or history , a clear message to employers of an appetite and capability to learn new knowledge and skills.
Then there's the co-curriculum, meaning any activities that fall outside the academic degree.
We are told that a lot of resources have been invested to offer a comprehensive range of co-curricular activities, be it sports, societies, part-time work, entrepreneurial schemes or volunteering.
Students are encouraged to recognize the value of these activities as part of their development in other words co-curricular, not extra-curricular.
Engagement with non-academic pursuits is not only beneficial to student development, but is known to be highly valued by employers.
It may seem like a small change, but by demonstrating to students that we view these activities as equally important to academic study, we encourage participation.
But the most important change needed will be an introduction of the development strand in our curriculum, which relates to effective study practices, and personal, professional and career development.
These activities should help students make sense of, and take responsibility for, their learning and future.
Students are encouraged to engage with these activities through a variety of opportunities from thematic practical workshops to online seminars.
These opportunities are embedded within the academic programmes, but also offered as stand-alone events throughout a degree, rather than being an after thought for final year students.
Students are expected to develop a reflective portfolio to assist their development and showcase evidence of their skills and capabilities to future employers.
It is still not early days but, to date, the ‘1murid1sukan’ , the ‘1murid1uniform’ or whatever program held should show results of increasing numbers of students engaging with co-curricular and development strand activities. It must also be seen as not a ‘forced-to-join’ program.
Furthering your studies to institute of higher learning is no longer seen as a rite of passage by this generation, it should be a well-considered investment.
We should accept our students as learning partners, encouraging them to take control of their academic and personal development to shape their own future. 702
Azizi Ahmad Mingguan Amanah English Edisi 187 2 - 8 Feb 2020
is a senior educator Tue, Jul 30, 2:08 PM